Technology has come a long way from bulky rotary phones where you had to sit at a desk or in the kitchen to make a call. As cordless phones evolved into mobile phones, people started talking to each other while shopping, on a walk or outdoors.
But holding a device close to your ear isn't always the most convenient or safe. Through Bluetooth technology, mobile phones pair with headphones or earbuds, letting you safely talk to your loved ones while keeping your hands free. We rounded up the best earbuds for phone calls; one of which, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), we evaluated ourselves in the BestReviews Testing Lab.
Receiving audio from your phone to the wireless earbuds generally isn't a concern. These little gadgets are excellent at letting you listen to your favorite workout playlist or soothing melodies. The same can be said for transmitting audio from a phone call.
However, it's not the audio quality that sets great earbuds apart from mediocre ones when it comes to taking calls. The most significant aspect is the built-in microphone; generally, the more earbuds have, the better it is.
The microphone is crucial, as it lets people on the other end hear you clearly. It's a call breaker when you must repeat yourself when the slightest breeze blows over the microphone. That's why it's best if the earbuds have more microphones because one can momentarily shut down while the others pick up the slack.
But you also need to focus on your conversation. Active noise cancellation is the best solution for that, as the earbuds use a series of additional microphones to block out ambient sounds or background noise. Another great feature that lets you focus on what matters is the inclusion of a sidetone. This lets you hear your voice during a phone call, so you don't shout.
Equally important is a stable Bluetooth connection, as the receiving and transmitting audio can cut out if the connection fails. It's best to look for earbuds that use the latest Bluetooth standard because it's less prone to disconnections. Here, it also helps if the earbuds have multipoint pairing, letting you connect them to multiple devices simultaneously.
These JBL earbuds have powerful 11-millimeter speakers using Signature Sound tuning. The adaptive noise cancellation automatically adjusts the volume to your surroundings, while Smart Ambient lets you hear what's happening. Six beamforming microphones pick up your voice, and through VoiceAware, you can adjust how much of your own voice you hear.
These Apple wireless earbuds use Adaptive EQ technology to tune music and speech to your ears automatically. For phone calls, it uses active noise cancellation to block out external sounds, and the transparency mode lets you hear everything around you. A force sensor on the side lets you control the music volume, answer calls or change tracks. In the Testing Lab, we used these Apple earbuds to take calls indoors, outdoors and in noisy areas; they performed well in each scenario with solid call quality.
These Sony earbuds have a bone conduction sensor that gives you crystal-clear audio, no matter how noisy the environment is. They use speak-to-chat technology, which automatically reduces the volume during conversations, and the battery lasts around eight hours. They're water-resistant and easily recharged through Qi technology.
These Samsung earbuds are perfect for phone calls, as they have a low latency ambient sound mode that picks up the sounds you want to hear. So, you'll always have the perfect audio level between voice calls and your surroundings. There are three microphones on each earbud, and you can easily answer phone calls or switch between your music by simply tapping on the side.
These earbuds give you crystal clear talking through the Precise Voice Pickup technology. It has a battery life five-plus hours and comes with a charging case, giving you an additional 17 hours of playback time. The earbuds are waterproof and have audio controls by tapping in front of your ears.
Sennheiser is renowned for its high-quality headphones and speakers; these Sennheiser earbuds are no different. It uses aptX Adaptive codec that lets you hear every detail in music, and the adaptive noise cancellation adjusts according to the loudness of your surroundings. For crystal-clear calls, it has three microphones on each earbud.
These waterproof earbuds have adaptive active noise cancellation, which blocks out background sounds depending on the loudness. For phone calls, it has beamforming microphones that cut out ambient sounds so that callers can hear you clearly.
These earbuds have professional-level noise cancellation that blocks out almost all background sounds. This lets you hear every word during a phone call. Using Technic's JustMyVoice technology, the eight microphones also block wind noise.
Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.